2003 Volkmann Meeting
October 11, 2003
State Ethnological Museum
Maximilian Strasse 42, 80538 Munich

Flamed cloths and other fabrics
dyed according to resist methods

Dear Ladies, Gentlemen and Friends,

RED, BLUE and YELLOW are the three colours that make fabrics particularly vibrant in effect. In early 20th century Germany, cloths dyed according to the ikat technique came to be known as Flammtücher, due to the flame-like patterns arising from resist dyeing and to the particular sheen that the bright colours lend the fabrics.

Fabrics that are dyed and patterned according to resist or 'reserving' techniques are produced and held in high esteem by all world cultures. The methods themselves require a high degree of workmanship and the involvement of many types of specialised craftsmen.

The use of resist techniques in cloth design and production is the subject of this year's Volkmann Meeting taking place on October 11, 2003, at the State Ethnological Museum in Munich. An introduction to the sheer variety of resist dyeing methods will be provided by Dr. Marie-Louise Nabholz, who will make use of particularly significant cloth specimens to explain the various techniques involved, such plangi, tritik, batik and ikat.

She will be followed by the botanist Dr. Regina Hofmann-de Keijzer, who will be talking about dye plants and how they are used, rounding off her remarks with a film on the indigo dyer Josef Koó of Burgenland, Austria.

In Europe, indigo dyeing makes use of wooden printing blocks, and similar blocks are employed in dyeing in other regions of the earth. Accordingly, Dr. Harald Böhmer will be looking at the use of vegetable dyes among the block printers of Gujarat and in the batik workshops of Yogjakarta.

Participants in the 2002 Volkmann Meeting were able to visit the exhibition organised last year by Dr. Birgitt Borkopp-Restle at the Bavarian National Museum, and are thus aware that in the 16th and 17th centuries, carved wooden blocks were used to emboss patterns into Italian velvet in an approach similar to block printing as a means of creating 'reserved' (or un-dyed) areas in fabrics. At this year's Volkmann Meeting, Dr. Borkopp-Restle will be using selected examples to explain the design and use of such sumptuous fabrics as well as various methods of embossing velvet.

Very little is known about the plangi-dyed cloths used to wrap bread in the Maghrib. In the course of their many years of field research in this area, Annette Korolnik-Andersch and Marcel Korolnik have came across a film from the year 1970 that impressively shows the dying of such a cloth. Annette Korolnik-Andersch will be including the film in her report on the findings she and her husband have made.

Dr. Traude Gavin and Dr. Marie-Louise Nabholz will also be reporting on their research findings at this year's Volkmann Meeting. Dr. Gavin has been to Sarawak several times, and in the process has arrived at important conclusions that she has since published. She will be talking about the knowledge of ikat dyeing and morinda dyeing in particular among Iban women and the significance of these techniques for their people. Dr. Marie-Louise Nabholz, for her part, will be showing her impressive slides of the batik skills of the Miao people, taken on a journey through Southwest China several years ago.

Everyone is likely to remember the talk held at the 1994 Volkmann Meetings by Markus Voigt on Central Asian ikat fabrics in private collections. Since that time, he has been extremely successful in tracking down further interesting aspects of Central Asian ikats. The talk he will be holding on the subject at this year's 2003 Volkmann Meeting fits in superbly with

the exhibition that the State Ethnological Museum is showing on Central Asian flamed fabrics from September 24, 2003 to June 6, 2004.

This year, the State Ethnological Museum in Munich will again be providing us its lecture hall on the first floor of the museum for the Volkmann Meeting. The newly-installed Islamic Department, the special exhibition on Central Asian ikats, and all further display rooms will be open for our use.
A luncheon snack will be laid on for us by the cafeteria, and the day will close with an à la carte evening meal in the Botticelli-Stube at the Ratskeller, Marienplatz, Munich.

Yours sincerely,

Christian Erber

P.S. Please remember that while it is never too late to register, early registrations are much appreciated.
P.P.S.: Don't forget - the Kunst-Messe München is on October 11 - 19, 2003

Advance notice: The 2004 Volkmann Meeting is to take place on October 9, 2004 in Munich.

Copyright © 2003 Christian Erber